Efforts to integrate health and social care services in St Helens have moved a step closer.
For the past two years St Helens Council and key partners have been working on St Helens Cares, which is expected to save £80 million by 2020.
The vision is to improve the lives of people in St Helens, together, by tackling the challenge of cost and demand.
In September 2018 cabinet agreed to adopt a system led approach, which would see the development of a single integrated commissioning provider, working closely with a single principle provider of health and social care services.
St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust will act as the lead provider in this new model.
This week cabinet agreed to delegate authority to its chief executive to enter into a collaboration agreement, which has already been approved by a number of key providers, on behalf of the council.
Coun Marlene Quinn, cabinet member for adult social care, said the collaboration is “ground-breaking”.
Coun Quinn said: “This is seen as ground-breaking work locally, with St Helens being the only borough in Cheshire and Merseyside that have been able to progress such a provider alliance.”
She added: “The success of this is dependent on strong working relationships and the co-operation with our providers.”
The collaboration agreement is based on a legal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and sets out an initial governance framework for the system lead arrangements.
It also identifies key priority areas those signed up to the agreement will focus on over the next 12 to 15 months.
These are frailty, respiratory, adult and children’s mental health.
So far, the collaboration agreement has been approved by the statutory boards of St Helens CCG, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust are expected to approve the collaboration agreement next week.
Council leader Derek Long welcomed the collaboration.
The Labour leader said: “The key message is that the council is achieving something which has democratic accountability.
“This is a different form of integration than other models in the NHS, and that’s why we stand foursquare behind it as a political party because it does actually indicate that we have the democratic components into that.
“And full marks to all the partners who are collaborating with us to make sure that is so.”